The Owls moved up to a 4-3 season record and leveled its district mark at 1-1 before heading to East Jefferson's Joe Yenni Stadium in Metairie this Friday at 7 p.m. to face Grace King in another league battle.
It's the school's first district victory since 2004 as well as the Owls' first district shutout since shellacking St. Bernard 56-0 in 2003.
In describing the win, Tucker said, "The kids had a chance to do many things they haven't done in a while. As I told our kids, it's bigger than you. What it means to the community is huge."
Also, it's Chalmette's first district triumph playing in the state's highest classification in 20 years when they defeated Grace King in 1990 (18-13 in the ninth game of the year) when the Owls spent two seasons in the Jefferson Parish league as they are doing now. But the Owls' stay this time will probably be much longer than its two-year span was then.
Before Tucker explains how the Owls achieved last week's district win, here's how Chalmette went about burying the Bruins on the Owls' home field.
After a scoreless first quarter in which a Chalmette scoring threat ended with a B.J. Jeansonne punt being downed at the Bonnabel six-yard line, some Owl razzle-dazzle in the second quarter produced the game's first points as both defenses dominated the first-half action.
Here's how the action unfolded before Chalmette took a 7-0 lead. The Owl defense forced Bonnabel to punt from its own 29, but a short Bruin boot hit an unaware Owl and Bonnabel got a break, recovering the touched ball at its 41-yard line.
Using a strong running game, Bonnabel marched into Owl territory as they ate up nearly 10 minutes on the clock with an 18-play drive, but bogged down and faced a fourth down at the Owl 30 with five minutes to go before halftime.
Chalmette defensive end Chris Scallan chased a Bruin ball carrier out of bounds just short of a first down at the Chalmette 22 and the Owls took over on downs. "I thought our kids kept battling on that 18-play drive. We kept believing in ourselves. We never changed our scheme. We stayed with what we had. We stayed with the plan. Fortunately, we were able to stop them," the Owl head coach praised his goal-defending troops.
Now for the razzle-dazzle play. "We've been working on that play for a long time," Tucker gives an account of what went into making the Owls' biggest offensive call of the game. "We haven't run it, and they haven't seen it. We scored on it and it changed the momentum."
A double reverse handoff from Owl quarterback Craig Sylvera to James Banks who lateraled to David Smith who raced toward the Bruin sideline, side-stepped several would-be tacklers and then dashed down the out of bounds line, cut back slightly to the center of the field and outraced all Bruin tacklers for the game's first touchdown with 4:32 before halftime. Hector Fernandez booted his first of three extra points for the lead.
After the Chalmette defense led by Rhett Pritchard and Sean Esponge who stood out with 12 and 11 tackles, respectively, forced the Bruins into a poor five-yard punt as boys in maroon-colored uniforms took over at the Bonnabel 36.
An interference penalty gave the Owls the ball at the Bruin 12, but quickly the ball was moved back by the Owls' own holding penalty. As seconds ticked away, Tucker called time out with just over a second left.
Fernandez's time for glory with the ball placed on the Bonnabel 26 after the snap from center, the senior kicker booted a 36-yard field goal as the ball barely by inches crossed the goal posts' crossbar for a 10-0 Chalmette lead at halftime. Those kicking points may have been the the breaking of the Bruin backbone.
Sylvera produced his best game of the season, completing seven of 11 passes for 108 yards with no interceptions and keeping key drives alive with big completions and five going for more than 10 yards. On the season he has thrown for 510 yards. "Craig played his best game of football he's played at Chalmette," Tucker praised.
His favorite target was sophomore wide receiver Cody Williams who caught three for 66 yards and continues to lead the team with 16 catches for 220 yards and just under 14 yards per catch. Joe Jamison also grabbed two for 28 yards.
After taking the second-half kickoff, Bonnabel was unable to move the ball and was forced to punt. However, Chalmette tackled the Bruin punter at the visitors' nine after a bad snap from center.
After a series of penalties that saw Fernandez line up for his second field goal attempt of the game four times, he drilled a 24-yard kick for a 13-0 Owl lead near the midway mark of the third period. It's the first time in school history that an Owl has kicked two field goals in one game.
Continuing to stymie the Bonnabel offense, Chalmette forced the Bruins to turn the ball over on downs and the Owls would score three more times.
"Taking control of the field position really helped. Our defense really stepped up. They haven't played real well lately, and this is the first time they really played a complete game -- offense, defense and special teams all season," Tucker added.
James Banks raced six yards for his ninth TD of the season and Alex Crowson ran for the two-point conversion in the third period.
In the final quarter Chalmette scored twice more -- on a two-yard power play by Johnquel Jones and on a 29-yard scamper by Jeffrey Joseph. The Owls finished with 283 yards of total offense including 175 on the ground.
Defensively, Ruston Pritchard and Jason Rucker finished with eight tackles each, while Donald Harris made six stops and Jermaine Brisco and Joseph recorded five tackles each.